If Social Gravities May Sometimes Cross
If social gravities may sometimes cross
her wisened looks when you are on your own--
it is to rub your words on the low depths
of chalky passion slinky naiads loan
only to time, shocking against these shores
as if to puzzle undercurrently,
as if in their vacuity to upbraid
your long incessant milkings of the shade
which was their hovel, from which they have flown.
Some distance was met, unknown and unsaid.
This was the one then who you vilified
in the dark temper of your deepest days,
making each substitution carefully
as though a puzzle were revealed to you,
glad of the chance to put across your word.
What is that you tell us that you see
but other people’s words your words surpass?
We see the surface of the chartered sea
that goes its own way, the freight in the ports,
trading hours ahead of the newspapers.
Ben Mazer is the editor of Selected Poems of Frederick Goddard Tuckerman (forthcoming from Harvard University Press) and Everything Preserved: Poems 1955-2005, which collects the poems of Landis Everson. He lives in Boston, where he is contributing editor to Fulcrum: An Annual of Poetry and Aesthetics.